Arsenal vs Man City: A tactical preview

Two Premier League heavyweights meet at the Emirates Stadium today, with the game sure to have a real bearing on the title race.

Arsenal and Manchester City are set to lock horns at the Emirates this evening, with a simply massive three Premier League points on the line.

For the hosts, an improvement against the division’s top teams is needed, while revenge should also surely be on the cards following their 6-3 humbling at the Etihad earlier this term.

Should Arsenal fail to record victory, the slim chances the North London club have of being involved in the title race will surely dissipate completely.

For City, with games in hand on Chelsea and Liverpool in the places above them, their destiny is in their own hands. Following their dominance at Old Trafford in midweek, victory here would propel them one step closer to reclaiming the title.

A number of key personal battles will have a major say in the result, while a couple of tactical match-ups will surely dictate the victor.

Arsenal’s main challenge will be controlling and neutralising the threat of the opposition midfield.

City received a boost when David Silva was declared fit to play and after a man-of-the-match showing against United on Tuesday will be surely be a key figure again here.

The Gunners must stop Silva from carving up their back four like he did at Old Trafford, and as such it is imperative that Mathieu Flamini plays.

Although the French enforcer’s inclusion would be something of a defensive move by Arsene Wenger, his presence is the best bet in closing Silva’s space and stopping him linking up with City’s other attacking weaponry.

The match-up between Yaya Toure and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain will be another to keep an eye on, as two of the most dynamic midfielders in the league go head-to-head.

The home faithful will hope that the England international will make the imperious Ivorian retreat towards his own goal, hence limited his influence in the Arsenal half.

In Arsenal’s attack, the emphasis is on Olivier Giroud to once more silence his doubters and prove that he is the man to lead the line for the North Londoners.

In Vincent Kompany he has arguably the best centre-half in the land to take on, but if he can hold up the ball and bring the likes of Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla into the game, the Gunners have a chance.

The hosts will also look to get their full-backs forward, especially Bacary Sagna, forcing the City wingers onto the back foot.

At the other end, the Gunners must look to break up City’s possession play and put pressure on the visitors when they don’t have the ball. If Silva, Toure and Samir Nasri are afforded space and time, there is only one victor in the clash.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch